# 1629 Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Music: Heart_Sounds.mid from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panhala/
I dip my robes in the Cherry Blossoms so that I may remember them when they are gone.
~ Kino Aritomo ~# 1629 Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - Editor: Joyce (Know_Mystery)
(Editor's Note: Ron Brown ~ Spiritual Friends supplied the Way of Tea material in this issue)
Chado - The Way of Tea
What is the Tea Ceremony? An Introduction to the Tea Ceremony
Zen is not about Sundays. There is no Sabbath...nor special day. Zen is not about church. There is no special place where one can be at rest. Zen is not about God or Buddha. There is no entity greater than any other. Zen is about life.
"Of great importance to the Way of Tea is the concept of kokoroire. Written with two characters, the first character represents "heart-spirit-mind": the second, "to put in." In other words, the host puts his whole being into the intent of creating an atmosphere wherein the guest can find tranquility��
As is Zen, so is tea.
There is nothing special about a Tea Ceremony. The ceremony is like any other event in your life: it is one moment. It is like the cherry blossoms of the spring. They bloom and, for a few moments, radiate with an elegant beauty. Then they are gone.
But we do not lose sight of the beauty just because the flower has disappeared. The simple glory of the flower stays with us. I think that the tea ceremony is very much like this flower. For one brief moment, our lives are everything we would want them to be: elegant, ordered and peaceful.
Yet when the Tea Ceremony ends, do our lives fall into disorder? Do we lose all sense of grace? Of course not. The Ceremony is not the source of these things which we want our lives to be, it is simply a focus for achieving them.
The flower is not beauty...beauty is the feeling it evokes in us.
The tea is not peace...peace is the feeling it evokes in us.
We take the tea with us. Thus when the ceremony has ended, we will still remember it and all it has evoked in us. It is simply an example of peace in our lives. It exemplifies the single minded effort that is necessary.
When one serves tea, that is all that one does. In order to serve the tea properly, one must have the proper mind. If one's mind is not directed, it will wander to other things. The tea will be too hot or too cold, too strong or too weak. Steps will be eliminated, not by choice, but by mistake. This is not the proper way to serve tea.
All activities are like this. How can one drive safely during rush hour if one's mind is lost in thought about a late homework assignment? Everything we do should be a single minded effort, directed towards the task at hand.
So, while we don't drink tea everyday...Tea is part of our everyday lives.
~~~ The preparation and drinking of tea could be an expression of the Zen belief that every act of daily life is a potential act that can lead to enlightenment. The principles which govern the Japanese Tea Ceremony are harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility, which combine with what might be called the Zen aesthetic of emptiness to give the Tea Ceremony its distinctive feel. In Zen, everything which is not necessary is left out; this is as true of the mind as it is as of the physical setting. The spirit of austere simplicity pervades the Tea Ceremony. Each utensil has a specific purpose, and only those utensils which are necessary for the Ceremony are brought into the tea room. Nothing superfluous is added. Moreover, before making a bowl of tea, the host ritually cleanses each utensil, just as the student of Zen empties or "cleans" the mind through study of Buddhism.
In Tea, this is known as the principle of purity. Practitioners of Tea rid their minds of attachment and worldly concern, and, in short, of every unnecessary thing. The host focuses entirely on serving a cup of tea; the guest, entirely on receiving it with gratitude. In so doing, both guest and host focus completely on the present moment, another fundamental practice of Buddhism.
In Tea, there is space between things, both in the physical setting of the tea room and in the Ceremony itself. To a Buddhist, this is the way the universe itself is structured, and in tea this is the principle of harmony with the rhythms of nature. This is what Senno Rikyu meant when he admonished his disciples, "In summer suggest coolness, in winter, warmth" - not to avoid the changing of the season, but rather, as Soshitsu Sen XV suggests, to practice a way of enjoying each season as it comes (Tea Life, Tea Mind, 36).
Zen further suggests that in order to attain the Zen ideal of emptiness of mind, we need a discipline or way to guide our practice. Tea provides such a discipline. In Tea, mind and body are disciplined by adding certain restraints, which, in a sense, leads to a greater freedom. Like zazen, Tea espouses an idea of naturalness or freedom which is not the same as sloppiness or an "anything goes" mentality. Shunryu Suzuki reminds us that "nothing exists without form and color" (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, 108) and so Tea, like zazen, is formalized. Certain actions are appropriate to the different stages of the Tea Ceremony, other actions are not; movement too is formalized, and even the aesthetics of the tea room are governed by formal principles. It is by practicing Tea within this disciplined formality that host and guests obtain a true sense of tranquility. ~~~
'Make a delicious bowl of tea;
lay the charcoal so that it heats the water;
arrange the flowers as they are in the field;
in summer suggest coolness;
in winter, warmth;
do everything ahead of time;
prepare for rain;
and give those with whom you find yourself every consideration.'
Japanese characters for WA (Harmony)
These four principles guide the rules of the Way of Tea and signify the highest ideals of the Way of Tea. Furthermore, they are the important principles of humanity. In the busyness of everyday activities, it is valuable for each one to take time and ponder upon each principle and utilize it for one�s spiritual cultivation. Thus, through a bowl of tea, one can acquire peace of mind, and contribute to the establishment of world peace. Sen Soshitsu , Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV, has been traveling all over the world with the goal, Peace through sharing a bowl of tea.
between ourselves and nature
between all the different aspects
of our surroundings
between nature's seasons and our
between us and other people
Harmony never means that everything becomes alike.
The point is to achieve a balanced relationship, not
between things which are identical, but between
things which are complementary.
... Harmony with contrast,
as in the black ink of
the words and the
space of the
Harmony weaves everything together
into an intricate,
yet oh-so-simple web.
for the moment
for each person
for the objects we use
be defined as
the act of giving
to the recipient.
In showing respect, we demonstrate
our understanding of the
interconnectedness of all things.
And having shown respect, we
understand even better
why it is valued.
(like the clear stream)
(has everything unnecessary been swept away?)
(at any one moment, we should be completely
focused on the action of that moment)
(do I see my goal clearly?...)
To be pure is to contain nothing
that does not properly belong;
so that we are not weighed down
or distracted by that which
contributes nothing to the good
of the whole.
the state of being free from agitation of mind
If we are in harmony with
our surroundings and if we
respect the moment and what
it brings us, then we can
achieve purity of mind, purpose
and action, and thus carry
with us a state of tranquility.
through the practice of
is ours to choose,
and ours to create
A Message from Soshitsu Sen, Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV
Chado, the Way Of Tea, is based upon the simple act of boiling water, making tea, offering it to others, and drinking of it ourselves. Served with a respectful heart and received with gratitude, a bowl of tea satisfies both physical and spiritual thirst.
The frenzied world and our myriad dilemmas leave our bodies and minds exhausted. It is then that we seek out a place where we can have a moment of peace and tranquillity. In the discipline of Chado such a place can be found. The four principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility, codified almost four hundred years ago, are timeless guides to the practice of Chado. Incorporating them into daily life helps one to find that unassailable place of tranquility that is within each of us.
As a representative of this unbroken Japanese tradition of four hundred years, I am pleased to see that many non-Japanese are welcoming the chance to pursue its study. This growing interest in Chado among peoples of all nations leads me to strive even harder to make it possible for more people to enter the Way of Tea.
Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV
An Explanation by Sen Soshitsu in Tea Life, Tea Mind:
�The simple act of serving tea and receiving it with gratitude is the basis for a way of life called Chado, the Way of Tea. When serving a bowl of tea in conformity with Tea etiquette, a cultural synthesis of wide scope and high ideals, is brought into play with aspects of religion, morality, aesthetics, philosophy, discipline, and social relations.
The student of Tea learns to arrange things, to understand timing and interludes, to appreciate social graces, and to apply all of these to daily experience. These things are all brought to bear in the simple process of serving and receiving a bowl of tea, and are done with a single purpose � to realize tranquility of mind in communion with one�s fellow men within our world. It is in this that the Way of Tea has meaning for today.
With a bowl of tea, peace can truly spread. The peacefulness from a bowl of tea may be shared and become the foundation of a way of life.� (Tea Life, Tea Mind, p. 9)
The History of the Way of Tea - Focusing on Famous Tea Masters
Tea was first of all a medicine. The tea plant probably originated in the mountainous region of southern Asia and was brought to China. By the Tang Dynasty (616-907), tea was drunk mainly for the enjoyment of its flavor. Tea was so important that it was the subject of a three -volume work called Ch�a Ching, the Classic of Tea. At that time, tea leaves were pressed into brick form. To prepare tea, shavings were taken and mixed with various flavorings, such as ginger or salt, and boiled. Later, during the Song dynasty (1127-1280), green tea leaves were dried and then ground into a powder. This powered green tea was mainly used for ceremonial purposes in temples, but was also appreciated for its taste by laymen.
Some tea was probably brought to Japan during the height of cultural contact with Tang China. Kukai, patriarch of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, brought tea in the brick form from China to the Japanese court in the early ninth century.
The drinking of tea was confined to the court aristocracy and Buddhist ceremonies until the twelfth century. Eisai (1141-1215), founder of Rinzai Zen, reintroduced tea to Japan upon his return from study in China. He also wrote Kissa Yojoki, a treatise that extolled the properties of tea in promoting both physical and spiritual health.
Eisai�s interest in tea was shared by his renowned disciple, Dogen (1200-1253), who is called the founder of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. When Dogen returned from China in 1227 he brought with him many tea utensils, and gave instructions for tea ceremonies in the rules which he drew up for regulating daily life at the Eiheiji temple founded by him in Fukui prefecture.
Appreciation of tea did not remain confined to temples. Its popularity spread among the court nobles of Kyoto and among the warrior class. The tea gatherings of this era were boisterous affairs and included contests in which participants identified various teas and prizes were offered to the winners. These were usually accompanied by linked-verse sessions, liberal consumption of sake, and gambling, along with ostentatious displays of expensive tea utensils imported from China. Especially notorious for extravagant tea parties was the fourteenth-century nobleman, Sasaki Doyo. This flaunting of things Chinese was a fad among the warrior leaders, who went so far as to send their own special envoys to China to collect art objects.
Nevertheless, contained in these gatherings were elements which were refined into the tea gathering of today. For example, the banquet became the light meal that often precedes the drinking of tea, overindulgence in sake evolved into an exchange of a few small cups of it, gorgeous arrays of flowers and displays of painted screens were reduced to a simple arrangement of flowers and a single scroll hanging in the tokonoma. Today, appreciation of the host�s specially selected utensils is still of great importance.
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